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Software‐in‐the‐loop simulation for developing and testing carbon‐aware applications

Wiesner, Philipp; Steinke, Marvin; Nickel, Henrik; Kitana, Yazan; Kao, Odej

The growing electricity demand of IT infrastructure has raised significant concerns about its carbon footprint. To mitigate the associated emissions of computing systems, current efforts therefore increasingly focus on aligning the power usage of software with the availability of clean energy. To operate, such carbon-aware applications require visibility and control over relevant metrics and configurations of the energy system. However, research and development of novel energy system abstraction layers and interfaces remain difficult due to the scarcity of available testing environments: Real testbeds are expensive to build and maintain, while existing simulation testbeds are unable to interact with real computing systems. To provide a widely applicable approach for developing and testing carbon-aware software, we propose a method for integrating real applications into a simulated energy system through software-in-the-loop simulation. The integration offers an API for accessing the energy system, while continuously modeling the computing system's power demand within the simulation. Our system allows for the integration of physical as well as virtual compute nodes, and can help accelerate research on carbon-aware computing systems in the future.
Published in: Software: Practice and Experience, 10.1002/spe.3275, Wiley